5 Tips for Building a Sustainable Work-From-Home Set-Up
If you’re conscientious about the perils of global warming, it’s important to make sustainable choices in your day-to-day life to minimize your environmental footprint. Whether you’re installing solar panels on rooftops or trading in a gas-guzzling car for a bicycle or electric vehicle, every meaningful action helps. For those who are most serious about protecting the climate, the efforts can extend into their everyday habits.
Let’s take a look at how you can set your home office up in a way that leaves a lighter footprint.
1. Buy second-hand
If you’re just starting to set up a home office, consider furnishing it with previously-owned items you can find at consignment stores or through online listings. By buying used, you’ll help curb a growing trend of unwanted furniture going to waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 12 million tons of furniture and furnishings were dumped at landfills in 2018. The figure was more than five-times higher than 1960, when two million tons of furniture were tossed.
At DocuSign, employees have created a Slack channel to swap household items and encourage re-use.
If you’re still keen to buy new, choose items that were created sustainably and are likely to last a long time. The Sustainable Furnishings Council recommends shoppers be mindful of the type of materials used to create pieces. Ideally, wooden pieces should be crafted using Forest Stewardship Council certified, reclaimed, North American, or plantation-grown wood.
2. Turning off the switch on bad lighting habits
Not everyone gets to choose where to set up their home office, but if you do, let the light be your guide. By working in a well-lit space, you won’t have to flip on the light switch for the majority of your working hours. If this isn’t an option, you can help the Earth by switching your light bulbs to LED, which take up 90 percent less energy than and last 25-times longer than incandescent bulbs.
3. Smart computing
Rethinking the way you use, and treat, your computers and other electronic devices can be an easy win for the Earth. Whether you’re switching a laptop to low-battery mode, or putting it to sleep when not in use, there’s a number of ways to reduce your device’s environmental strain. You could also invest in a solar laptop charger to keep your computer off the grid entirely. If solar isn’t an option, you might be surprised to hear that algae is being explored as an alternative way to power computers.
And while it’s always tempting to trade your aging computer in for the latest-and-greatest model, it’s better for the environment–and probably your conscience–to prolong your device’s lifespan for as long as possible. Carnegie Mellon University research shows that between 70-and-80 percent of a device’s carbon footprint is made during its production, underscoring the importance of keeping or repairing a device rather than replacing it. Another way to extend the life of equipment is by donating it to organizations such as Human IT, which refurbishes used electronics before distributing them to nonprofits.
4. Thoughtful food choices
It’s tempting to cave into the modern conveniences of food delivery services and prepackaged store bought meals. This is especially true during busy work days, when time is at a premium
and there’s no chance to whip up your own dish. The trouble is that these ready-to-eat meals are often delivered in styrofoam or plastic containers, which are no friends of the environment. Just think: 82.2 million tons of discarded containers and packaging ended in landfills in 2018, including the packaging used to store convenient meals.
This can be avoided by prepping your own meals at the start of the week and using reusable containers to store them. You can also reduce waste by only buying what you’re certain you’re going to eat, and by choosing organic fruits and vegetables. Of course, if you’re in a position to grow your own vegetables and go shopping in your garden, that’s even better.
5. Eliminating paper
Another easy way to become more sustainable while working from home is by eliminating the amount of paper you use. DocuSign can help with its e-signature solution, the world’s No. 1 way to sign electronically. By replacing paper with esignature documents, DocuSign customers have created a more eco-friendly environment by reducing the consumption of over 55 billion sheets of paper using e-signature alone, the equivalent of more than 6 million trees.
DocuSign eSignature has significantly reduced businesses reliance on traditional, antiquated methods of communication by revolutionizing the way documents are shared, signed and stored. eSignature eliminates the need to print, fax, scan, mail and store paper documents by providing a fast, easy-to-use electronic document signing process.
If you’re looking for other ways to help the environment, read our blog that details the ways in which you can eliminate unnecessary paperwork, and use paper more responsibly when hardcopy documents are needed.
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